Only four days to go for the election and I can sense a total lack of seriousness around me.
Polls that are reaching me are not good, and even might be indicating that chavismo might overtake the opposition in ballots cast. Maybe, though I doubt it, nor it matters much in the end as I have explained earlier.
Nobody really has dared to make a solid prediction. As far as I know, and outside of the pious declaration of victory of the candidates and their parties, I am the only one calling it a 69 something to a 96 something for Chavez (the irony of the inverted digits, ain't it?).
My feeble attempts to try to set an election central with other bloggers went nowhere fast.
Friends and relatives call me to tell me that "Carabobo esta en pico de Zamuro" "Zulia se perdio" and yet they do not listen when I tell them how absurd it is for them saying that as it is absurd for them to tell me in the same breath that thanks God, we are taking all of Miranda.
So far nothing makes me change my prediction. If anything the "optimistic scenario" is reduced to a little bit, and going.
And yet, though saddened, I do not care much. Strangely happy perhaps that for once I suffer from a very mild case of election jitters.
The thing is that since February 2009 I have slowly but surely come to grasp that the real problem is that Venezuelans are not democrats and in fact probably never were, except maybe briefly, for a few weeks at most, sometime after the Revolución de Octubre. And they probably never acted as democrats except during the regime of Medina and perhaps up to a point under the presidency of Leoni and the first weeks of the Caldera first term. All the rest of our independent history, that is roughly 96.37 % we have been looking for the Cacique who will tell us what to do to make out like a bandit.
Yesterday I wrote to a long time reader the following (lack of capital letters intended):
the people who vote for chavez sunday belong to three groups: the bloodsuckers, the cult members and those who want chavez to hurt the other side. when such a coalition gets an electoral majority in a country democracy is done with.And thus today this post as a need to expand these words, which in all their cynicism describe my position better than ever.
It is not that outright I condemn these people.
After all, it is not because I am unable to subscribe to any religious or political group, that gurus make me laugh, that the last time I had a leader I was a boyscout and got cured from any further need, that it makes me unable to accept that other people do have such need. They are wrong but I do understand the need to believe in something. And in Venezuela there was a wretched lot of people (from poor to rich) that had nothing to believe into for decades and suddenly found a man to adore.
The corrupt folks have always existed, in every country of the world. The problem, in Venezuela is that they got free rein, and under Chavez became one of its necessary coalition members. Why? Well, to begin with, let's not forget that Chavismo was not a spontaneous generation and that a huge majority of those who voted for Chavez in 1998 used to vote AD and COPEI. And thus a huge amount of chavismo initial cadres, those who entered "public service" in 1999 were AD, COPEI and MAS until no more than 2-3 years earlier. They carried their vices within chavismo from the start, but aggravated those for one simple reason: they had been sensed to be highly incompetent, and more corrupt than their bosses before and were barred from ascending in office. See, before Chavez public servants might have been stealing but many of them stole more moderate amounts and made sure that there was some works left behind their tenure, if anything to show something for their work, and claim all sorts of excuses for the missing fund such as "over price", "normals losses", etc... With the Pudreval scandal, to name one, you can figure out that even that delicacy of pre Chavez corruption has ceased to function.
The third group is the "resentido social" of which I have already disserted in the past. For a variety of reasons these people blame the failures of their lives on other folks and develop a social resentment that makes them seek revenge in all sorts of ways. The Tea Party in the US today is a prime example on how such groups can impose an agenda to a whole country. It is not that the grievances of these people might not be legitimate: often they are, resentido social or Tea Partier. The problem is what they do about them. Amazingly after 11 years of Chavez regime there are still plenty of people that think that Chavez will finally effectuate their so long sought revenge. Or have you forgotten that Chavez was elected in 1998 with the promise of frying Adecos heads?
It has been the evil genius of Chavez to knit these three group of people into a solid coalition that shows no sign of frittering away yet. Not only that, but when you combine it to his talent of snake potion salesman his recovery in polls in recent weeks is perfectly explained. How has he done that?
To the cult follower he keeps his language of fire and brimstone, combined to redemption under an empty promise of socialo-communism that disguises his fascist ambition for a life presidency.
To the corrupt group, by letting them rob so much he made sure that now they will have to do the dirty deeds because if he loses power they go down with him.
And to the "resentido social" he provides them with an enemy, an excuse. To understand this character better I can offer you this image: Venezuela who once upon a time lived of its coffee exports and was reputed to grow the best coffee and cacao in the world now is importing coffee. Lots of it, 76% more in just the first semester of this year. For the resentido social this is irrelevant, he cares only about finding coffee on the Mercal shelves, no matter where it comes from. If told about the Venezuelan growers out of business because of the government polices, he will simply shrug his shoulders, maybe adding that they were exploiting their workers anyway, were too expensive and it is a good thing Chavez stopped the racket, or whatever else runs their minds... It is very easy for the resentido social to turn his anger into a sense of entitlement and Chavez, as a hope and promise seller, has managed to lock in that constituency even without delivering the goods: the states owe you and it will pay you someday as long as Chavez retains office. As you will observe, the social economic status of the resentido is irrelevant: we are talking here about a frame of mind.
And thus Chavez has been able to bind together such an invincible coalition because we, the sort of educated masses, those who take at least some responsibility for our actions, us who even if we do not mind a "good deal" at government expense still think that to get ahead in life there is nothing but a good day of work, have failed to gauge the extent of these groups that form the core of chavismo. Or how else can you explain that long ago the thinking left, the democratic one has abandoned chavismo leaving it in the hand of the failed intelligentsia, the parrot one, the one that actually thinks that Chavez has invented the wheel and sliced bread.
February 2009 I finally realized that overwhelming truth, in all of its extent. The people who voted for Chavez indefinite reelection knew exactly what they were voting for. They had seen the man for ten years already, violent, insulting whoever crossed his path, vulgar, barrack minded, sectarian, racist, liar. They knew it. They have no excuse for their vote because Chavez was not on the ballot, Chavez would have remained president for three full years still, plenty of time to fulfill his promises. And yet they voted for the perpetuation of vulgarity and segregation as the way to run a country. They have no excuses whatsoever and deserve fully the fate Chavez holds for them as the he finishes off the country.
Since February 2009 I have come to realize something worse. Once the educated elites of Venezuela, including Bolivar, paid with their lives for the independence of Venezuela and 5 other countries, the values of the lumpen became our norm until today. No new educated elite had the opportunity to form. We have never been a democratic people, no matter how much analysts and politicans line up at Globovision to repeat incessantly since 2004 that we are a democratic people and that we will eventually react to Chavez and boot his style out. It has not happened, and it will not happen next Sunday because even if by some miracle the opposition were to get more votes than chavismo at this stage of the game that excess vote would only be a punishment for Chavez, secretly hoping that he will smooth down some of the feathers he ruffled and fix electricity problems in the slums.
By 2012 any slight progress would be enough for them to vote again for Chavez.
In Venezuela today it is impossible for a rational mind to vote for the PSUV candidates for the national assembly: rotten food crisis, devaluation, inflation at 30%+, jobless rate on the rise, crumbling infrastructures, crumbling public health services, the highest crime rate of the continent, increased drug trafficking and consumption, corruption in public view, etc, etc.... civilized governments collapse in shame for a quarter of that list! And yet here in Venezuela we are debating whether the opposition will get 50% + 1 vote when we should be debating whether chavismo would preserve half of its 2009 votes.
The explanation for this voting pattern must be searched for elsewhere than rational decision making. This is naked emotion and in its perverse form. The only cure for that is for the country to finally collapse, to suffer, so it will realize that populism and showmanship at the top is not the road to progress. Be sure that Chavez is taking us that way, maybe willingly in his immense ignorance.
If Europe, the US, the Far East have experienced such a huge development it is because they got tired of civil wars, depressions and world wars, not necessarily in that order. Consensus and democratic compromise is the way to go now, in spite of the occasional nut case like Le Pen. Here in Venezuela there was always enough oil money to ford tough spots and thus the political nature of our people never developed the way it developed elsewhere, even next door, Colombia.
And so, cursed with such thoughts, I am waiting in a resigned peace for the outcome of Sunday, understanding very well that whatever outcome we get nothing will be solved as long as we do not address the root cause of our problems.
PS: the future of this blog will of course be conditioned by next Sunday result and the feelings and opinions expressed above.
The blog will not stop but it is a given that it will change if Chavez wins convincingly (2/3) the next assembly. I have said in so many different ways why Chavez is evil, what else could I add? I will just have to remain on the watch, not even bothering to analyze the results, observing the fate people chose. Then my worries will be to consider leaving the country as soon as possible because the new level of vulgarity will make life impossible here for someone like me. With less posting I will write more about the little pieces of Venezuela about to disappear under the crushing life sucking chavismo. I will leave it to others to seek fame and celebrity discussing our further undoing.
Now, if Chavez barely wins, we'll see. And of course if the opposition miraculously wins then it will be an exciting time to live and for the first time it will make sense to start writing about how we can recover Venezuela.